20
January 2018

Author Archives Ivan Žalac

About Ivan Žalac

Ivan started larping in 2001. He runs an English-language blog "Diary of a Croatian larper", and he's a guy behind several Croatian larps. Ivan is a member of the larp association "Lateralus".

CQ2013 logo

The biggest larp event in the world. Over 8,000 players, over 1,200 NPCs, over 700 pages of plot written for it. How do you even write a review for that? Heck, there are only about 5-8 other larps in the world which have more players than ConQuest has NPCs. Played on a horse property in a small German town of Brokeloh, the huge number of people make Mythodea a living fantasy country – there’s so much going on that pretty much every player gets a unique experience.

Undead

The Undead of Barrenbay (from official ConQuest photo CD).

The basic structure of ConQuest is very different from the one for Drachenfest. While both have some similarities – being two of the largest larps around, with similar rulesets and fighting styles, featuring out-of-character GMs who watch out for safety issues and remove the arrows from the battlefield, showers, paramedics, a huge working town with a lot of shops, plenty of camps with cool gates and certain avatars – that’s where similarities between the two end. While Drachenfest is essentially a larp about many factions fighting for rulership of the land for one year (and going very sandboxy about that), ConQuest is a much deeper storyline experience with incredible amounts of lore, a large plot team, and a grand overarching storyline – which, I have to admit, is railroaded to a degree. A lot of plot is prewritten, and events feature interactive plot locations. Dead characters on ConQuest stay dead instead of passing through Limbus, and all players are allies (to a degree) – NPCs are the main enemy.

Black Ice

Me, armored up as a Black Ice soldier

Same as last year, I was an NPC – I joined the Swarm 1 of the Black Ice. Compared to Drachenfest’s charged atmosphere, being in the out-of-character NPC camp at ConQuest of Mythodea is peaceful (if we ignore Swarms 8 and 13, which have a party setup – however, it’s not noticeable from an in-game area), and it gave us two days of rest and light activity to prepare for what awaited us. The familiar area, nice green grass, and the awesome shade of the treeline we were close to had a calming effect. For some reason, Mythodea felt like home.

In that time we also hung out with some friends that we met. Besides our friends from Swarm 1, we hanged a lot with the Grand Expedition (organized by Rick and Anja; this time in the Camp of the West), where my wife and son would stay once the larp started. Expedition also featured many amazing people from around the world – players from Great Britain, Ireland, USA, Germany, Israel, Denmark, Norway, etc. It also gave me the opportunity to finally meet a lot of people face-to-face whom I’ve previously only chatted with on the Internet.

One such person is Kristin Brumley, author of the Stay in Character vlog and producer of the upcoming Basic Adventuring 101 webseries – she was in the Grand Expedition camp playing her character Iris. She was featured on our site in June. Another was Martin aka the LazyLarper, who’s producing LarpForge videos which have been shown regularly on our site too. He was with his fiancée Sophie and their friends in a group called The Kettles, in the Fire camp. They brought out their fabulous homemade mead, and I saw an episode of Cookforge being filmed.

ConQuest 2013 camp plan

Besides player camps, plenty of people from Copper camp at Drachenfest also played NPCs here. There were a couple of the undead players in the undead lairdom of Flowerfield, one guy in the lairdom of Corpsedale, and a girl who was cast as one of the Viinshar. One guy I met on the Expedition at Drachenfest would be a Black Ice here, Swarm 13. All of these people I knew just being around made Mythodea even more welcoming than the last year.

The layout of the camps changed a lot this year, since it was a new in-character location, and there were a couple of new camps (and like last year, a part of the terrain was set for an out-of-character medieval and fantasy festival that all players could access – only players were allowed into playing area though, no festival visitors).

All of this made for a huge forest of tents wherever you went. The terrain was bigger and more varied than the one for Drachenfest (due to treelines breaking line of sight), so it doesn’t feel as crowded despite being twice the size and population of Drachenfest. The city – as the one last year – is bigger than the one at Drachenfest and features more shops, so I bought a lot of stuff that I couldn’t find at Drachenfest (although I couldn’t find a Calimacil vendor this year at either larp, which I found odd). But really, the city is awesome, and not only due to stores. There are plenty of taverns, restaurants, guilds, entertainers, several rival gangs which cause trouble, and so much more. You can learn new skills, eat, drink, buy stuff both for real money and in-game coin. You can get mugged or swindled easily, you can hire dancers for your private party, buy some slaves (or sell yourself into slavery), and much, much more. Mythodea’s city lives, and it has its own rules and night life.

City, night

City during the night (from official ConQuest photo CD).

Viinshar

The Viinshar are NPCs specially cast for their role (from official ConQuest photo CD)

Despite the fact that there’s a supermarket at Mythodea (in a tent next to the city), after Drachenfest I found myself yearning for normal cooked food. I signed up for an NPC tavern deal – for 45€ I’d get three meals a day for four days (Wednesday – Saturday), plus dinner on Tuesday and a breakfast on Sunday. Great food for the cost, and quite varied. Plus, meals were scheduled around fights and shifts.

Fighting NPCs at ConQuest (the majority, at least) are scheduled around shifts. There are a few big battles (where everyone is active), and every day there’s active duty, a state of preparedness, and rest. I should note here that this was a special ConQuest – after ten years, the first chapter of the story came to a close – so they were determined to make it more epic than ever. Last year there was only one big battle, at the end. This year there was one every day except the Wednesday; though everyone thought they were in for a big battle, we’d actually had choreography (which we practiced earlier) and fell down in a “1200-person domino effect” in a power surge when Argus (the big bad guy of Mythodea) opened the last seal.

That area had powerful speakers (to make the bad guys and sound effects heard), but they were still too weak for most people; as NPCs we were standing relatively close to them and could barely hear it. It was a special area (where the last seal was located) refered to as “Point of Creation” of “Forge of Creation” or “Smithy of Creation” (depends on whom you asked).

Smithy of Creation

Smithy of Creation (from official ConQuest photo CD).

Its downside was that it took us three kilometers to march to it and three kilometers to march back. In fact, three out of four days we were marching there or close to it. There was a lot of walking in general. I believe I walked around 10 km every day (in armor) while on duty. If you’re NPCing at ConQuest, make sure you’re fine with walking; there’s a lot of it! Luckily, there’s also a support wagon and they haul water, making sure you don’t dehydrate.

Argus caged

Argus caged (from official ConQuest photo CD)

At the end of the opening scene, Argus was captured. There was a big battle on Thursday morning where we tried to recapture him. The fight lasted a long time as Argus switched hands several times (he was caged and on a cart which could only be moved slowly and with painful consequences for PCs), but we lost him in the end. There was a day break which I spent resting in the shade in my own camp, and one more action that evening. When my shift was done, I took a shower (a word of warning for the faint-hearted: Mythodea has military-style showers, so there will be nudity if you go there. There’s much more privacy at Drachenfest, but Mythodea has way more showers and you almost never have to wait). Instead of turning in early, I dressed up as one of my regular characters (Kain) and went to the Grand Expedition to hang out with my wife and other members of the Expedition (we could go out and role-play with our regular characters while off-duty, provided that we don’t get involved in the storyline since that’s for players).

Vollsanger

Vollsanger the bard visiting the Expedition, entertaining people with his hits.

The Grand Expedition (as an English-speaking group) was easy to role-play with, and they had a great-looking camp, mead hall, and sometimes some entertainment. This year the Expedition was more scattered, and people spent less time in their camp. They often went out to do stuff together.

Expedition

An Expedition adventuring party.

I went there every day. Since by the time I arrived it was usually dark, I spent some time there with my wife and son, and when they turned in to sleep I went to the city to one of the taverns where the rest of the folks from the Expedition went. These nights were full of having fun, drinking, dicing and sharing stories. I didn’t stay there for too long, though. There would always be the next day where I would have my duties as a Black Ice rakh.

Friday morning we had an “instanced” assault scenario where we attacked a part of the East camp in waves for an hour. During the main heat of the day we rested, chatted together, and napped. Swarm 1 is actually a nice place for a non-German speaker. Most people speak at least some English, and there’s a large group of Dutch people, so everything important gets translated. There were a couple of new faces and plenty of familiar ones – with a lot of nice people, Swarm 1 almost felt like family this time around. Fighting and chilling together creates a lot of bonding.

In the afternoon there was another big battle – the Black Ice focused on the Earth camp, which undead twice failed to conquer. We took it for ourselves and then repelled the reinforcements, returning to the camp without dying. It was the most glorious battle that I was in at ConQuest.

After this battle, even though we were tired, we wanted more (since we didn’t lose). We almost begged the GMs to let us have a go at another camp, but that was it for the evening. March back to the camp, showers, and another evening in light clothes, barefoot, and without wearing armor. Felt like freedom, and that way I could easily limp to the West camp. This was probably the evening when I did the most role-play.

Showers and toilets

NPC showers in the off-zone. Not the most glorious sight (apart from the crooked tree), but it’s a glorious feeling.

Friday morning we only had a small battle against Grosse Heer camp (Grand Army – they have a high standard of viking costuming) and blocked the passage towards the Fire camp. Nothing much, and our last R&R together in the cool shade south of the Swarm 1 campsite. Then came the end battle, again at the location of the seal, but this time we approached from the back side, adding some half kilometer to our journey. It was scheduled to last for four hours and it was long and hard. In the end, we lost (of course), and Argus died. We’d be more amazed if we weren’t so dead tired, but that was the end of an Age and the beginning of another one. It really felt that way: an end and a new beginning.

A summary of the main plotline from the event website is:

It took a whole year to open the Iron Gate again and follow Argus. But then everything did not go as expected: As soon as the settlers had entered the field facing Argus at the least seal, the seal opened a crack and revealed not the greatest enemy of creation but actually the source of all life on Mythodea.

Argus is captured and Phileas Strongbow is made captive. The settlers bring him to court where a fatal mistake leads to Paolo Armatio’s death. Finally, Argus is sentenced and executed. At the same time, the scholars and mages try to understand why the Ancients Rulers had put a seal over this place, the greatest sanctuary of the elements of Mythodea. Finally they realize that the Ratio had made it possible for the Primordial Sceptics to bring new things into this world, which was never part of the plan of the elements. Putting the source of this creative power the “Smithy of Creation” under a seal seemed to be the only way to hold the blasphemers at bay.

Fight

Black Ice fighting in the dust (from official ConQuest photo CD).

NPC debriefing was full of cheering and saying goodbyes. We greeted Linus (the player of Argus) one last time for all the good times we had, and then we got a short presentation about some stuff coming next year. Mythodea stayed in character for one last evening, and then in the morning we packed our stuff. There were plenty of hugs, goodbyes, and directly translated German such as “we’ll see each other” (“see you”). Saying goodbye to the wonderful people of Swarm 1 and The Grand Expedition, we loaded our car, drank a goodbye slushie and started the long journey home. A couple of downsides (GM intrusiveness, ruleset change 10 days before the event, etc.) were put aside as we were slowly digesting our experience of the world’s biggest fantasy larp.

ConQuest 2014 logo

Army of the Doubt

The Live Adventure team wasted no time, and in two weeks the new website for the ConQuest 2014 was up (as are the ticket sales), detailing all the upcoming changes for the next year (with the exception of a new ruleset, which is scheduled for December). Changes will really be huge. First of all, the next ConQuest will take place on a different world – the Mirrorworld. Mythodea will still be the setting of several smaller events throughout the year – but it has been largely conquered. ConQuest 2014 will also see players organized very differently – element camps have been disbanded, and all PCs will be bunched together in the centre of the terrain as a member of the Large Host of over 5000 players, organized into five “wards”: Adamant, Explorer, Freedom, Retinue and Unity.


Several photos have been used from the ConQuest website or official ConQuest photo CD. These photos are (c) Live Adventure 2013. http://www.live-adventure.de
And there will be some new enemies around to fight – or to join, if you decide to take the NPC route. It is, after all, a new beginning.раскрутка сайтасайтапродвижение сайтаскачать программу для взлома вконтакте онлайннеобычные чехлы для iphone 4sможно ли взять кредит на открытие бизнесаcasino online gratis tragamonedas sin descargarfilipina escort dubaimerit royal casinoArgos ready made curtainsteam altezza tanzaniaфитнес клуб зебра марьино отзывы

Aug 22, 2013

Drachenfest Copper camp gate

The fourth banner is on the night watch in the Copper camp. The gate guards, who perform that job during the day, are resting while we take shifts. Mine is the first one, probably the busiest one, but the easiest one to stay awake on. People are on top of the gate, scouting, and I’m below with other soldiers guarding the entrance and helping to check the documents.

Night life seems to be busy. Once the soldiers are done fighting and the air chills to the more comfortable levels, everybody else comes out to mingle. Yet, this evening something is wrong; the order comes from above, and we’re on lockdown – nobody comes in or out. Priests come out in droves, searching for the cursed dolls around the camp and warning us not to touch them if we encounter any.

The new Copper Avatar

Some highly-positioned people can’t go in or out, and that’s a problem. We are under orders; we’re not letting them out. Lady Zoe tries to push through. Avatar was angry with her for some reason, and it’s probably not a good idea to inquire why. We stop her from passing through. Lady Iskierka is also angry that we’re not letting her through, but the order and the way of things protect us, as they should.

We get new orders. Regulations are a bit relaxed for some. Then we get an unexpected visit – a Black Avatar! We let her in and show her the way to our Avatar, a new one since the Great Copper Dragon chose to manifest itself in female form this year.

Eventually, the situation calms down and normal traffic is re-estabilished. The Black Avatar goes out. Soon, my shift is done. I wash up a bit and head to sleep…

…an alarm sounds, a battle before our gates. Black, our allies, are fighting an opposing force, and our Imperator is out! I storm out of the camp with a squad and reinforce their lines. We stand still, and with the help of Black mages who break their lines with their spells we push through, fighting our way through the night and pushing the Green back. I cut one down, but got wounded in my left arm. I’m close to the Imperator and we make a run for… something, I didn’t hear it well, but we’re passing next to the ritual circle. As we’re running, something cuts me down from behind and I fall down.

Two soldiers from my camp found me, barely conscious, and pulled me back to the camp to our Lazaret, the sickbay. My neck wound – too ugly for stitching – is cauterized by a hot iron and left unbandaged. My arm is stitched, placed into a splint and bandaged. I was helped to the bed and told to return in the morning for another look at these wounds…

Drachenfest Sickbay

Drachenfest. The second biggest and probably most well-known larp in Europe. It’s been held once a year by a company called Wyvern next to the small German town of Diemelstadt, in northern part of the state of Hesse next to the state border. There’s a large wooded hill surrounded by the river Diemel on two sides, and a large meadow divided into two parts – smaller to the south and bigger to the north – which is the terrain on which Drachenfest is played. It’s not just any larp – it has a huge festival atmosphere with many, many shops, taverns, food stalls, etc. – all of them decorated to fit in the medieval/fantasy look and feel as much as possible. Around 5,000 participants make Drachenfest feel a bit crowded, but very much alive and dynamic.

Going to such an event for the first time can be a frightening and confusing experience – like it was for me last year. The European larp scene is not unified – there are vast cultural differences, more across linguistical borders than across country borders, and coming to Drachenfest for the first time was a big culture shock for me. To help you better understand German larp culture, here are some of the general larp terms in Germany:

  • Outtime (OT) – off-game or out of character
  • Intime (IT) – in-game or in-character
  • Spielleitung (SL) – game master/reeve/referee
  • Orga – game staff
  • Stop – pronounced with “sh”. A call to stop a game immediately. Don’t say “stop” IT, use “halt” instead.
  • Heiler – an IT call for healer. Pronounced like “hi-ler”.
  • Sani – an OT call for medic, used for real injuries, usually in combination with stop. Pronounced like “sunny”, but with more of a Z sound.
  • Weiter – “onward”, game continues after “stop” or similar.
  • Time stop – like stop but for IT purposes, only SLs call it. Close your eyes and hum until you hear “weiter”, game continues from that point.
  • Vor! – Forward! Pronounced like “for”. The battle line which is yelling this is likely pushing into opponents.
  • SC, NSC – PC and NPC, respectively. Might have a different meaning than you’re used to.
  • Con – pretty much every German larper calls larp events “conventions” or “cons”.

Drachenfest Copper camp speechReturning to Drachenfest this year was a very different feeling than visiting it for the first time. Now there was no overwhelming feeling of awe for an event a hundred times more populous than what I used to call big events in Croatia. Now there was no culture shock from larping with vastly different goals in mind than what I was used to. This time I knew what awaited me, and I knew a lot of people in my camp. I was excited, ready for the challenges that awaited me. Ready to give my blood for Copper – a camp of religious fanatics organized in a way similar to the Star Wars Empire or the Warhammer Empire. Copper is called NPC camp, but this might be very different to what you expect: Drachenfest is a PvP event, and Copper are still playing full characters of their own choosing and role-play. There are only a few limitations – we have to role-play loyal religious fanatics but if you’re OK with that and with the camp role-play direction, you’re in for an awesome experience.

In German larps, a knowledge of German comes in handy. Most people in the Copper camp have at least some command of English and they can give you a short summary of what was just said, but not everyone can engage in a longer dialogue, so some command of German is very useful if you want to catch what’s going on. I understand some German, so I can sometimes make out what it was about, but I’m sure my enjoyment of the larp would be greater with a better command of the language. Then again, I’m playing a soldier, so it’s not as difficult as it would be if I were playing a different sort of character. There are some English-speaking groups – The Grand Expedition (in Gold camp) is one such group: very nice people, and I have some friends there.

Drachenfest Gold Avatar and SendbottinOnce again I traveled with my wife, son, and a friend (not the same one as last year; this one is from Serbia) for two epic weeks in Germany – first Drachenfest, then Conquest a week after. After a long drive to the location of the larp terrain, we unloaded our stuff and went on to say hi to people we knew, though finding people you know in the huge city of tents can be challenging. Beside the Grand Expedition, there were other people I knew in other camps: Green camp had the Slovenian trio, the same ones as the last year, while Blue camp had four Hungarians from Chronicles of Demgard (who also play on Terra Nova). The Drachenfest’s motto is “Freunde treffen Freunde” – friends meet friends – and this year it rang much more true than my first time there.

One of the first differences we noted were the changes this year: Silver and Black camps switched places, there was only one Chaos camp, and the Orc camp was staffed by different people than the last year. Triumvirat split off the Gold Camp and lodged itself between Red and Blue, taking the old gate with them while Gold got a new, epic-looking gate.

There were more tiny changes: There was no Copper party at the start of the larp, but the Blue camp threw one instead. We also had a different avatar. Camp layout was slightly different, and our camp did not seem as fanatical as last year, screaming our shouts less often (and we changed a few of them). Thinking about it, some major changes would probably be easier to adapt to than this plethora of small changes.

Drachenfest Gold gate

Several things didn’t change, and one of them is weather. Most of the time at Drachenfest it’s either hot – the sun burns so much that you feel like you’re probably developing a cancer – or it’s a thunderstorm. It can change from one to another and then back again in a span of only a few minutes. We had several storms, and the ground of our camp was a field on which nothing had been planted this year. The ground was bare, incredibly sticky when wet, and dangerous to walk on fast, so we got some hay to put it on the ground of the central fighting place to make it safer.

Our camp politics changed. Last year Copper was alone against everyone, however this time we were in a huge alliance with Black, Red, Gold and Triumvirat against Blue, Green, Silver and Grey. Blue camp won the Drachenfest last year, so this was the year of the Blue dragon – they had their coins minted, their colors flying in the city, etc. Last year was the year of the Gold dragon (who won in 2011). This year, the Black dragon won – only one dragon egg ahead of the Silver one – winning this year’s Drachenfest, and making the next year the year of the Black dragon. The number of dragon eggs decide the winner in the end, and the dragon eggs are awarded for various deeds (attack, defense, rituals etc.), but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Avatars and GMs in the ceremony

Opening and closing rituals were epic as always, with fire performance before the opening (as well as a performance by some dancers from the Blue camp and the scene when all Orcs got out of their camp with lit torches, which looked amazing). All dragon avatars are presented one by one in the Ritual Circle, and most players are there cheering for their dragon. They display affection, respect, hostility, or other stuff towards other avatars, and they make a nice show. The opening ritual is not really on the opening – it’s on Wednesday evening, while Copper starts role-playing Tuesday evening, and other camps start Wednesday morning. In this environment which repeats itself every year – dragon eggs, dragon camps, fighting to rule the world for the next year etc. – most things (apart from the avatars themselves) are player-organized and rather sandboxy.

Copper altar

Camp life is a large part of the Drachenfest experience, and that’s very visible in the busy central square. People doing things, soldiers resting in the soldier tent (where we could get some water and sometimes coffee or tea), and many places with specific functions (such as the sickbay, temple, library, etc.) nearby. We even had a store where you could buy symbols of your dedication to the Copper dragon for the in-game currency.

Store

Apart from that, there was fighting – and a lot of it, especially for me as a soldier. Drachenfest is a huge fighting place, and Copper fights often. We took parts in fights big and small, but one of my favorite ones was a night battle against Chaos in front of our camp. I just got back to tent and took my armor off when they yelled the alarm. I picked up the sword and ran for the gate. In front of the camp there was a group of Chaos attacking us – we ran out and gave them a good fight. I had a duel with a huge Chaos guy who missed me a couple of times with his huge warhammer while I hacked at him – and he hit me once, I flew away some distance and rolled in the ground, got up, jumped him, and slayed him with a dagger. Tried to do the same to an orc from the Chaos camp (as I was surrounded by that point) but they got me. Excellent duels, excellent role-play. I love fighting against these guys (even though we hate them in character) because they play nicely and take their shots (it’s similar with orcs too).

Orcs

I should elaborate the thing about Orcs a bit – they have the highest standards. Orc camp is called “Ork-Clan-Lager” (Orc clan camp), and though it looks the same and performs the similar function, it’s not the same one as the last year’s “Orkheerlager” (Orc army camp). I will not repeat the rumors I heard, but apparently GMs mishandled a situation and made some players from the Orkheerlager very angry, so the entire camp of some 200-ish people switched to Epic Empires instead (third largest larp in Germany, which was two weeks after Drachenfest – that’s a week after Mythodea – unfortunately I couldn’t get three weeks off to visit all three of them). Orkheerlager was simply amazing. Ork-Clan-Lager is also good, but it’s not the same, and they’re smaller. They’re still (from what I’ve seen) better orcs than any other on Drachenfest or Mythodea, though pretty much all orcs I’ve seen are great role-players. And yes, there are other orcs too – there are some in the Chaos camp, and there are some in several other camps as well.

This year, I managed to do more stuff than the last year when I could have done little more than playing soldier. I put in some time to train with the Fighter’s Guild in the town, at which point I got a very interesting experience – the Red Avatar came out of the temple, pissed at something there, he saw me train and actually came to us, pissed (apparently, that’s his natural state) and corrected my stance and strikes. Someone commented: “We still live… he’s in a good mood”.

Red Avatar

Copper camp alchemists and garden

I also did some quests in camp for our commander. During one of those I actually learned herbalism, and the entire new world of how things work there opened itself to me. I spent two mornings going to the forest to gather some herbs (which are represented with cocktail umbrellas, or paper tokens which are replaced for umbrellas by the GM if you encounter a herb colony). A walk in the forest was nice and refreshing compared to the heat of the field, and I was sort of surprised by the fact that nobody tried to attack me or rob me of my herbs. There was some other content in the forest – once I encountered a party of Copper and Black soldiers who just returned from disrupting some ritual. I gathered a number of herbs which surprised our alchemists – got myself some in-character cash and a healing potion, and delivered it all just in time to get ready for the big battle. There are other options for herbalists, such as building gardens – the actual garden is built with actual plants (and umbrellas are placed there as physreps of the active components), each plant has certain handling properties and requires certain type of soil to grow (I hear there are GMs going every night or morning to replant stuff and sprout new plants in gardens).

Copper war column marching to the end battle

The end battle is the high point of Drachenfest. A battle of thousands, it’s very impressive. We marched on the battlefield, and we were one of the last units to march there – which means we didn’t have to wait as much as we did last year. Three cannon blasts marked the start of the battle. We didn’t last as long this year as we did the last year but the fight was fun – against Orcs and Chaos, our traditional enemies whom we taunted in the passing. Plus someone attacked us from behind. Oh well, we had good deaths. At least we had the showers first, and our alliance won anyway.

Death isn’t a permanent state at Drachenfest – but instead of a concept of lives and respawns that some other larps have, Drachenfest has Limbus which is a place of its own. It’s a maze staffed by at least a dozen NPCs. Once you’re killed you have to wait to be signed into a Book of the Dead by the lady in the waiting room – then (after you bribe her or do something else for her) she lets you walk through a hellfire into a dark maze, staffed by NPCs whose job is to frighten you. Some of the stuff they might do is very effective, such as shaking the corridor. Layout of the Limbus might be different when you go in the next time, and there may be secret passages involved. Once you get out, you’re bruised and shaken by experience, and weakened for a while (you pass through Limbus physically, not spiritually). In some cases Limbus is skipped – such as if a person is killed in a ritual circle (that is permanent death), or at the end of the end battle (when everyone is resurrected at the end). Some characters might choose permanent death – it is said they did not find the way through Limbus. But it’s important to note – Limbus is not just a game mechanic, it’s a part of how the world of the Drachenfest works.

Me wearing Copper Imperator's crown

After that it was basically over, so it was time for some silly fun before the closing ceremony. Playing with props, eating, dancing, playing an interesting ninja game derived from the German larp phenomenon Tyren Nightfire, cracking jokes etc… Like last year, we stayed for an extra day before we left for ConQuest, watching everyone leave, saying goodbyes and hanging out with others who stayed.

Being a part of the Drachenfest 2013 in the Copper camp was unforgettable. This time I got my orientation around so I was able to do more than the last year. Seeing faces old and new, playing with them again in an experience which is similar, yet very different from the one I had last year. But one thing is certain: Drachenfest is an experience few others can match. If you can get the chance to go there, do it – you won’t regret it.поисковое продвижение эффективнораскрутка сайтасайтпрограмма для взлома вай фай андроидсанаторий аквалообыстрый займ на карту быстроbetsafe casinoindependent escort dubaiprestige online casinoTop gambling sitesкакие животные находятся в танзанииайкидо для детей текстильщики

Aug 12, 2013

Thirty-two_days_feat
Izgon (Croatian for exile) was a one-shot pervasive larp played in the urban setting, mostly in Zagreb, Croatia but it also spread to other cities and countries. As it was a pervasive larp, it had no separate game-space – instead, it was played in the real world, and what was real in the real world was also real on the larp, similar to alternate reality games. It had a total of 23 participants, and it lasted for 32 days continuously (March 24 – April 25), with players playing it alongside their regular lives.

Amani symbol with runes

In the universe of Izgon, the main plot revolved about the powerful race of energy beings, who once – in larp setting – evolved on Earth, related to humans but far more advanced, and bled Earth nearly dry of magical energy. After a long and bloody civil war, they passed beyond to other worlds and levels of existance, ascending to energy form. After an unfortunate accident, two opposing groups ended up stranded on Earth, forced to possess human bodies, and given a limited time to escape this world due to their addiction to mana.

This is a very short version of the background story, which allowed it to be set in the modern setting, but with strong associations to both SF and fantasy. The model of possession worked by basically grafting the prewritten characters onto the barely modified version of players, literally giving players two distinct personalities which could interact either between the players or between each other.

The overarching story played in those 32 days focused on the sabotaged peace treaty between two sides, overexploitation of resources, influences on humans, and the manipulated unification between them, as well as shattering the reality and facts they all believed to be true. There were strong exploitations of temptation, power abuse, love, hate, fear and loss all helped out by the individual character stories, pasts, goals and plots and complicated by the another team called Hunters who were playing humans and had a very different playing experience from the main group – similar to the game of Assassin.

Unknown elements were a large part of the larp, and there was also a resource battle where two groups of players competed for resources – the spots which produced mana required to open a portal. However, since those spots were designed to be all over the world, both sides resolved the resource battle by traveling – one side (Amani) visited several other cities in Croatia, while other (Kalesti) also visited Slovenia and northeastern Italy to claim the resources there, making for some really great road trips.

High immersion was one of the goals of this larp. To facilitate that, larp mechanics were designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, and to make sense from in-character perspective as well – a lot of them were designed to aid immersion, such as meditation each day and personality switch mechanics. Since characters were actually playing altered versions of themselves, going off-game was rendered unnecessary.

A mana node is being captured

The mechanics were also designed to allow easy game mastering from one central spot, as well as automatically documenting what’s happening on the larp. A lot of these documents – in-character diaries – is now available online on the documentation website (which is partially in English and partially in Croatian, depending on content) – one of those diaries is in fact novel-sized with almost 45 thousand words. The website also features the art done by characters, as producing a piece of art was a task each of them had – and some results are stunning.

Izgon also featured a rather dangerous incident. A group of players was preparing a stakeout for another group (participants of the other group were not known to the players, adding to the confusion and realism), and two cars approached the spot. It resulted in a car chase through Zagreb, until the two cars chased split up – they did not belong to other players, and it’s unknown who the chased people were. It serves well to illustrate the possible risks player might face in pervasive larping – all actions in-character are also real, and might be misinterpreted by other people. Pervasive larps need to be designed carefully to minimize such risk, but in the end the ultimate responsibility is on players.

The larp got its name (among other things) from its mechanic – Exile would be the in-character death of the energy beings which possessed players. And indeed, it is these moments which were the key points of some of the most intensive and powerful character drama in larp. And it was really intense – compared to shorter larps, e.g. when you read a character description and then play it out in the next hour or few is one thing, but when everything lasts for weeks of interrupted, immersionist role-play, when revealed it becomes something that’s much more powerful, on a whole new level.

It was a very strong experience. The larp was cut by players after they completed almost all in-character goals, almost three days before its planned end date. It was followed by several player meetings, official or unofficial, an e-mail debriefing session of several hundred mails, and then a six-hour debriefing session. And for a large number of players it was not enough, not even after the weekend had passed. And some had only started to recover after a week had passed. Landing was hard after new personalities and daily rituals were being ingrained in players for over a month.

No sequels are planned at the moment, although that possibility exists. However, one thing’s certain. The participants of this larp will remember it for a long time.deeoкомплексная seo раскрутка сайтовсайтвзлом пароля почты рамблерiphone 4 купитькредитная карта москомприватбанка условияonline casino games for funuae sexmerit park casinoMighty slotsправила восхождения на килиманджарохочу похудеть братиславская

May 13, 2013

Saturday started off nicely. The Hungarian visitors – who slept at my place – woke up early enough for another day at convention. Jasminka made toast sandwiches, waffles and large amounts of coffee for breakfast. Awakened, we arrived just in time. First on the program were two workshops – Dunja was holding one about acting improvisation (I heard those who went there were quite pleased), while I did the Ars Amandi workshop.

Ars Amandi workshop on PoRtaL

Ars Amandi was probably the one thing I was most nervous about on this convention – how would it go? It’s a mechanic for simulating romance and sex on a larp using hands, arms, shoulders and neck – the very subject would usually make people nervous and cringing. In the end, 10 brave people (three men and seven women) signed up for the workshop, which really surprised me. And we had people of all nationalities present on the con – 2 Serbian girls, a Bulgarian couple, a Hungarian girl, and the rest were filled with Croats with and without larp experience.

Considering the touchy nature, I got some advice for running the workshop by +Lizzie Stark who ran it several times in the States (interestingly enough, she also ran it this very weekend on the Intercon M convention in the USA). It helped. And during the course of the workshop I got to see people who had an awkward time holding each other’s hand in the beginning end up living through some incredibly intensive moments. I was running it, and I was stunned too by the atmosphere. It was incredible. And we’ll get back to Ars Amandi later…

Creating (Re)union

The next thing was a lunch break. The Create a larp workshop decided to move the workshop to the lunch schedule – so we had a working lunch. Brittany, Marko, Vesna, Ivana and me were off to Pedro pite, and the Mystery larp which was set to happen Sunday evening was born then. From the yesterday’s brainstorm a final larp idea, style and general plot were chosen that lunch, as well as the larp name – (Re)union. I have to say here – many people pushed extra hours that day to create that larp. Marko wrote all the characters – 10 of them, an A4 page each!

Back to the presentations. Two more Hungarian ones – two different but related larps were presented. Chronicles of Demgard, Sandor’s larp, was the first one presented. Many people showed quite an interest in how the larp is run and its rule system. Siro and I returned last year with very good experiences – it had shown. The next Chronicles of Demgard international event is The Sternn Pass Incident, set for September 20-22 and actually quite designed for international participation. I’ll be there for certain.

Projekt Prijot by Tamas is a game organized in a very similar way, but in the Fallout setting in the imaginary Hungarian future influenced by the Eastern block past and the cold war era styling. The photos showed some amazing tech built for the game, like energy weapons etc. We got a little bit shocked when we saw a guy wearing the shirt from the Croatian football representation – apparently, he was playing a refugee from Zagreb in their larp. Projekt Prijot seems like a very impressive larp to be on.

Next one was a presentation by Angelina Ilieva about Bulgarian larp culture. It was quite interesting hearing about the Bulgarian scene and the larps they do. Of non-fantasy larps, it appears that other types ended up popular than here or in Hungary, and there was an interesting mainstream fantasy format of clan larps and clan organisation. Which is very interesting because some 7 years ago, Croatian mainstream fantasy went one way… It could have easily gone the other way into something quite similar to the Bulgarian larp scene. Very interesting – and certainly worth exploring further 🙂

In the next presentation, Brittany, Rebecca and Sean gave a presentation about SCA – Society of the Creative Anachronism. Fighting with rattan swords, re-creating the arts and sciences of the middle ages, brewing and making dresses all the way from shearing the wool off the sheep to producing a finished piece of period clothing. You can find it all there. And perhaps the stars are right for Croatian chapter to finally start – many larpers said that they wouldn’t have time to run those things, but would come if someone else ran them. Of all the presentations, the SCA one sparked the longest-running questions & answers session, and it wasn’t enough as people continued asking them questions afterwards. The interest about SCA is certainly great among our larping community.

The presentation block ended there, and from that point the program forked in two again – there were larps to be run. The first one was Koliba (or The Cabin) by Ivana and Vesna – the larp I was playtesting the week earlier.

Reading characters on The Cabin

The second thing was a discussion by Ana and Božo – why do you larp? A complex discussion, and it seems like everyone had something to share. It was from the heart – and certainly something that was welcome, I’d say. Like Siro’s discussion yesterday, it was really a sharing of ideas, and of complexity of what everyone likes and expects…

After that it was time for a dinner break. I set up to run my larp of the evening – A Party Full of Secrets. But before I describe it, let me just say what else was going on during that time: A presentation of all larps currently known to be held in 2013., and the hanging out/networking etc. of the larpers. Of those who were not on A Party Full of Secrets.

 

Ready for the larp!

It was a larp party – and a pretty wild one at that. Ars Amandi wild for most of the participants. I’ll publish the entire larp soon (Edit: this larp has been published now in full), but just to make some points. One pair was selected as a couple which is soon to be married.

It was them.

Others played their friends… From work, hobbies, school, or neighbors. All part of the one big group. Many of them sharing secrets. Not really those dark, chilly, murderous ones. Usually the light hearted ones, positive ones, or simply being the victims of curiosity – but those would ultimately lead to the group breaking down. After one last, wild party together. It started innocent enough. It ended with loads of simulated sex (everywhere!), intensive yelling sessions and friends breaking up before the final song was played.

The larp ending. The final song marked the slow landing, going out of character.

 

I had a great experience (this larp allows GMs to play normally), I had a blast – played my own black box scene, assisted in three others, and got myself into some really intensive situations, facing passion/Ars Amandi (which my students from this morning practiced and spread around like wildfore), violence, doing the harlem shake… and much more. Most other players had a similar experience and feelings about this larp were really positive – it was the longest and the most populated larp on the convention, with a running time of over 3 hours (with preparations) and 16 players in total.

Chronicles of Demgard and Terra Nova shirts

After the Party Full of Secrets it was over for the convention. Some people went out to party – most of us who had to function on Sunday didn’t. I returned home with the Hungarians, and also Rebecca and her son. We cracked open another bottle of mead. There was still one convention day left.раскруткарезультат раскрутки сайтапродвижение сайта оплата за результатпрограмма для взлома вк онлайнбампер для айфон 5взять электронные деньги в долг срочноgioco del bingo gratis italianofemaleescortsrocks hotel casinobeste-onlinecasinos.comсафари в танзаниисекция бокса москва

Mar 29, 2013
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